A 10-member panel headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is expected to meet again at the end of this month to resolve the inter-ministerial differences over the proposed mining legislation after an inconclusive meeting today.
"The Group of Ministers will meet on July 30 again. Only 4-5 ministers expressed their views on the subject today," a senior government official told PTI.
However, an official confirmation on the date of the next meet could not be immediately ascertained.
Coming out of the meet, Mines Minister B K Handique said, "Discussions went on fine today. We will again meet soon."
Elaborating on the meet, Mines Secretary Santha Sheela Nair, who made the presentation on the bill to the panel, said, "The bill has 113 sections compared to 43 sections in the prevailing Mines Act, which governs the sector. Some ministers gave their views today while others are yet to give their opinion."
The new bill has a separate section on sustainable development, with the objective of imparting justice to the tribals, Nair said, adding, "The discussions are important, We have legal licence to mine, we have environment licence to mine, now we will have social licence to mine as well. Next meet will take forward the discussions."
However, when asked if the Mines Ministry was pushing to introduce the bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament starting next week, she said, "We want it as soon as possible."
Handique had earlier said that the bill could be introduced in the winter session of Parliament. After GoM's deliberations, the bill will go to the Cabinet for approval.
"All important issues, including illegal mining, giving equity to land losers, conservation of iron ore, were discussed," Nair added.
Last month, the government had formed a Group of Ministers (GoM) to debate the proposed legislation, Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 2010, to govern the sector.
Besides Mukherjee, the GoM includes Home Minister P Chidambaram, Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh, Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Mines Minister BK Handique, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Tribal Affairs Minister Kantilal Bhuria, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.
Planning Commission deputy chairman Ahluwalia, who could be present in the meeting today, was represented by Planning Commission Secretary Sudha Pillai.
Out of the four ministers that presented their views today, Home Minister P Chidambaram gave his suggestion on a proposal to make the displaced families stakeholders in the mining project, the official said .